Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Real Madrid great Di Stefano turns 85

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Looking back 60 years at grainy footage of his playing days, it is hard for us to get a clear sense of how good a player Alfredo Di Stefano, who turned 85 on Monday, really was.

Those who were privileged to see the Real Madrid great performing in the flesh say he was one of the most complete footballers to have graced the game.

An accomplished defender, a midfield workhorse, a playmaker and a prolific striker rolled into one, he could be seen covering back in defence, charging forward through midfield, laying on goals for the forwards and smashing shots into the net all in the same game.

Known as “La Saeta Rubia” (the blond arrow), Buenos Aires-born Di Stefano remains in robust health, regularly appears at club events in his capacity as honorary president and has a lively newspaper column in Marca sports daily.

That winnin’ feelin’

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Lionel Messi says he feels he will one day win the World Cup.

“I more than anyone want to win something with the national team and I’m going to,” Messi told Ole sports daily in an interview published on the opening day of the Copa America.

“A World Cup?” the reporter asked.

“That’s how it will be. That moment will come and I know I’ll enjoy it. I don’t know why, but something tells me I’ll do it.”

Who is new Inter coach Gian Piero Gasperini?

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It is the question on the lips of many football fans around the world. Why would the 2010 European champions recruit an unknown as coach?

Inter would argue Gasperini is not a nobody having guided Genoa to decent success in Serie A but the fact he was sacked by the mid-table side in November is not particularly aupiscious. He was also shocked to get the job.

Spain’s growing appetite for success

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Spain’s victory in the European Under-21 championship on Saturday provided further evidence that the Iberian nation’s pre-eminence in world soccer may continue for some time yet.

Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara’s audacious 40-metre freekick sealed a 2-0 final victory over Switzerland in Denmark and the side’s performance throughout the tournament had Spain’s senior team boss Vicente del Bosque purring with satisfaction.

‘Great Captain’ looks to inspire River Plate troops

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Daniel Passarella, known as the “great captain” as a player, donned his track suit as he went shoulder to shoulder with his River Plate team preparing for the biggest match in the club’s 70 years of professional soccer on Sunday.

River have played and won South American and world club finals, been crowned Argentine league champions a record 33 times and provided more players to the Argentine national team than any other club.

Villas Boas ticks all Chelsea boxes except top prize

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By Shrikesh Laxmidas and Daniel Alvarenga

Unlike his mentor Jose Mourinho, Andre Villas Boas does not have a Champions League title on his resume as he moves to Chelsea but he ticks every other box on the London club’s wishlist.

The 33-year-old’s short career — which spans just 20 months as head coach — and lack of Champions League experience means he is a gamble for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, for whom clinching Europe’s top club trophy seems to have become an obsession.

Do Barca really need to splash out on Cesc?

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In our latest post on Spanish soccer, Iain Rogers in Madrid looks at the latest round of speculation over the future of Cesc Fabregas and classy Mali striker Frederic Kanoute’s decision to play on at Sevilla for one more season.

Do Barca really need to splash out on Cesc?

The annual ‘will Cesc Fabregas leave Arsenal and return to Barcelona’ media machine has been cranking into gear in recent weeks and the man himself showed up in Madrid last week to present a new fragrance at a trendy art gallery near Atocha railway station.

Velez Sarsfield’s claim to being Argentina’s sixth big club

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By Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires

River Plate, Boca Juniors, Independiente, Racing Club and San Lorenzo are Argentina’s Big Five clubs.

Until Estudiantes became the first club outside the elite Five to win a league title in 1967, no other team had lifted the crown since in the professional era began in 1931.

Spain’s annual coaches cull

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In our latest post on Spanish soccer, Mark Elkington in Madrid discusses Spain’s coaching musical chairs, looks at this week’s second-division promotion playoff between Elche and Granada and quotes a succinct summing up of the situation in La Liga given by Levante president Francisco Catalan.

Spain´s annual coaches cull

Spain´s young unemployed, known as ”los indignados” (the indignant) have occupied the squares of the country´s major cities recently to demonstrate against the government´s welfare cuts and a lack of opportunities.

The unbearable lightness of being – or how a thin piece of synthetic cloth can become a lead weight

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By Rex Gowar in Buenos Aires

Argentines often talk about how heavy a particular football shirt can be, River Plate’s, Boca Juniors’ or Argentina’s.

“La camiseta pesa” (the vest weighs (a lot).

This is what is happening to the players of River Plate, one of Argentina’s “Big Two”, who could be relegated for the first time this month.

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